IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — A bomb threat at the Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine prompted 1,000 people to be evacuated Monday, Irvine police said.
Among the evacuees were students from Tarbut V’Torah school, which is located on the same property at 1 Federation Way.
The threat came in about 4:40 p.m., and bomb-sniffing dogs were called in to perform a search, but nothing suspicious was located, according to police.
The Merage Jewish Community Center’s assistant executive director, Samantha Cohen, said she was not surprised by the threat and her facility was fully prepared.
“We have ongoing security protocols, safety protocols and emergency procedures. We’re just constantly reviewing them and training in them and staying updated to make sure our staff are able to respond just like they did today,” she said.
Cohen said around the time the Merage received the threat, the Westside Jewish Center in West Los Angeles also was targeted.
The Anti-Defamation League issued a security advisory Monday to Jewish centers around the United States.
According to the ADL, at least 20 bomb threats were called into Jewish community centers and day schools in at least 12 states Monday, including Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. Some JCCs received multiple threats.
This is the fifth wave of threats targeting Jewish institutions in recent weeks.
“While this latest round of bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers and day schools across the country again appears to not be credible, we are nonetheless urging all Jewish institutions to review their procedures,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Since the start of 2017, we have witnessed nearly 90 bomb threats being called into Jewish institutions – including one recently to ADL’s national headquarters.